Footballer accused of duping public and string of celebrities with fake charity

first_imgThe girl group Little Mix Damian Batt of Dagenham & Redbridge in action “If an organisation meets the requirements for charity registration then it must, by law, register with the Commission.”We will be contacting the Alexander Du’Bel Wish Foundation to seek more information about any further application and their ongoing description of the organisation as a charity. This is misleading to the public given that it has not been granted charitable status.”The business arm of the Alexander Du’bel Group is also struggling. Mr Batt has set up at least 11 separate companies under the Alexander Du’Bel brand – including a luxury travel business; a bespoke fashion brand; and even a diamond jewellers – in the past four years.Not one has published accounts and four have been dissolved. His latest business Alexander Du’Bel Holdings was set up as recently as October. Damian Batt of Dagenham & Redbridge in actionCredit: Getty Images Instead Mr Batt – by his own admission – owes £60,000 to debtors who in turn accuse him of being a smooth-talking ‘chancer’, who has not paid his bills.The all-girl supergroup Little Mix, one of the world’s most successful pop groups, was briefly involved with the foundation as well as two hospices for seriously ill children.But now the Charity Commission has intervened, issuing a warning to Mr Batt over his claim he is running a charity.The Alexander Du’bel Wish Foundation was established, according to Companies House in June 2015, but has yet to publish accounts while the Charity Commission said the foundation had not been registered with the watchdog.A Charity Commission spokesman said: “An application from the Alexander Du’Bel Wish Foundation to register as a charity was received by the Commission in 2015.”Due to incomplete information in the application, the Commission could not register the organisation. We informed the organisation on the additional information that would be required to consider this further. He is very good at talking. He just gave the illusion that everything was correct and proper. But it was just that – an illusionGurpreet Randhawacenter_img During his decade long career as a professional footballer, Damian Batt never quite made it to the Premier League.But when it comes to running a dubious business and philanthropic empire, Mr Batt has – as they say in football – played a blinder.The former footballer has been accused by the Charity Commission of misleading the public by claiming his Alexander Du’bel Wish Foundation is a charity.His foundation had planned to raise £3.5 million for terminally ill youngsters to fulfil their dying wishes. But despite a lavish launch party, backed by a leading children’s charity and a number of celebrities, almost no money has been raised for good causes. The foundation held its starry launch in December 2015 at Battersea Evolution, one of London’s biggest party venues. Tickets were charged at £100 each and further funds for terminally ill children should have been raised through a charity auction.A year on, a number of soft toys that were provided by a toy manufacturer for the event have been sent to children in Ghana; a few mothers of ill children have had their hair done courtesy of a salon which gave its services for free; while Little Mix, the all-girl group, has met two sick children.No children have been sent abroad on holidays or enjoyed any other trip paid for by the foundation. The charities briefly involved with Mr Batt’s foundation, which was run by his partner Krystal Carella, said they were no longer working it.Karen Sugarman, director of fundraising at Shooting Star Chase, whose patrons include The Countess of Wessex and Simon Cowell, said: “In 2015 Alexander Du’Bel Wish Foundation organised a special meet and greet with a celebrity girl band for a family supported by Shooting Star Chase.”We were considering further plans to work with the foundation but after this visit made the decision to focus on other projects.”The Demelza Hospice Care for Children, whose vice presidents include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby and the actor Daniel Radcliffe, gave its backing to the foundation when it was launched.The hospice’s chief executive Ryan Campbell attended the launch event in Battersea and gave a rousing speech to potential donors.A Demelza spokesman said: “We were approached by Krystal Carella who told us they were establishing a foundation which would grant wishes, and wanted to see if we had any families who might benefit from a wish.”We were invited to speak at one of their events about the work that we do, and they were kind enough to arrange for a hairdressing salon to deliver a small ‘pampering afternoon’ free of charge to some parents at our South East London hospice.”But one company that is owed several thousand pounds for helping put on the event said: “We gave Mr Batt a cut-price rate for our services because we thought it was a charity. We never got a penny and now it appears not a single penny went to good causes either.”Two men told The Telegraph they had been hired by Mr Batt in September with the promise of a plush office in Mayfair – that never materialised – and plans for a global luxury brand.The pair quit after a month when their salaries were never paid. Daniel Ward, who was hired to run the Alexander Du’Bel bespoke fashion brand, said: “He is a chancer.”Gurpreet Randhawa, who was hired by Mr Batt to run Alexander Du’Bel Luxury Travel, said: “He is very good at talking. He just gave the illusion that everything was correct and proper.”But it was just that – an illusion. I thought I was quite savvy but unfortunately I just got fooled by him and so did my colleague.”Mr Batt said his companies owed £60,000 to seven individuals and that the foundation launch had failed to raise money for sick children because a sponsor had pulled out at the last minute.Other business partners had also let him down. He also insisted he was owed far more money – about £200,000 – that should cover his companies’ debts.”I have had a year from hell,” said Mr Batt. “I had a partner involved who was supposed to sponsor the event but he pulled out at the last second. It left me in a huge whole financially.”It left me out of pocket personally by hundreds of thousands.”He said a second investor – “more famous than me” – pulled out of a later deal that squeezed his companies further. Mr Batt added: “I am not driven financially. I want to leave a legacy. I have done it all correctly. The only problem has been on the financial side.“The foundation’s launch was very successful. It was phenomenal. The charity was set up correctly. We had great trustees in straight away.”What we decided to do was to not do anything until the event has been taken care of in terms of paying people back. We have granted wishes. We sent in a hair salon for a makeover for some of the parents. And we sent two children to meet Little Mix.”It upsets me  a hell of a lot that the charity has been brought up because it is something I am passionate about.” The girl group Little MixCredit:Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more